Oblivion is the second film from director Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy) and thankfully its miles away from the debacle that was TRON when it comes down to a good sci-fi movie. It is evident that he has learned that visual effects isn’t everything in a movie and added a human emotional back story to an otherwise tried and tested Hollywood blockbuster.
The movie begins with visuals of a washed out Earth and Cruise’s voice over narrating the events that have occurred unto this point. An alien race called Scavengers (aka Scavs) have invaded Earth for its resources. Humans won the battle but lost the planet and have since relocated to Saturn’s largest moon – Titan. The humans have installed large fusion reactors that convert seawater into energy for their survival on Titan, and to protect them from the Scavs attacks have stationed medium sized orb like machines called drones.
Ever so often the drones take a hard hit after a Scav attack and drop down like flies. This is where Jack Harper (played by Tom Cruise) comes into action to provide tech support and security. Jack along with his beautiful and intelligent communications officer Victoria (played by Andrea Riseborough) are the only human survivors on Earth and are ordered to continue on their mission to protect the reactors and drones from the Scavs attacks.
Jack is a highly trained efficient soldier and is played effortlessly by Cruise, as he pilots a high tech vessel, smoothly drops down ropes and engages in high end action. Something we are accustomed to expect as seen in Cruise’s other blockbusters namely Top Gun, Mission Impossible and Minority Report to name a few. Andrea Riseborough does a splendid job with her performance as her character constantly shows signs of intrigue which keeps you guessing which side she is on. Olga Kurylenko’s character was vital in pushing the plot forward but her performance was generally dreary. Morgan Freeman has very little screen time, but does exactly what he’s expected and shines in his wisdom preaching General.
Oblivion shines beautifully when it comes to the aesthetic look of the film. The movie has fused innovative visual effects along with a variety of picturesque landscape shots and uses it to its advantage. We see glimpses of notable landmarks lying in ruin throughout the film, which works better than the post apocalyptic destroyed city setting used time and again in many movies.
Even though Oblivion from the outside looks like a complete no brainer action blockbuster with its futuristic visuals, the human element in the story adds some emotional life into the movie. The movie does take inspiration from other sci-fi classics like Planet of the Apes, Total Recall, Independence Day, 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Matrix. But even though it has borrowed various elements from the aforementioned movies, Kosinski has managed to balance it well with his story and derive something fresh and exciting. The performances were top notch throughout the film and Tom Cruise has once again proved that he is still capable of holding a movie on his own and sealed his superstar status. Oblivion has all the essentials that make a great sci-fi film with brilliant landscape shots, amazing visual effects, engaging story and excellent performances.